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Sandy

Club Torque - India's first Super Car Club

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India's first Super Car Club whose membership gets you behind the wheel of an exotic, several times a year. This concept may be new to India, but it's well established abroad.It's somewhat similar to Time Share Holiday Home Packages (Club Mahindra is the largest player in that segment).

How does it work then? Simply put, you pay an annual membership fee and have access to the Super Cars for a certain number of days a year. You needn't bother about ownership, repair or maintenance. Personally, I'm sold on the concept. The 10 - 15 lakh rupees per year is way cheaper than the cost of Super Car ownership. Plus, the Ferrari & Porsche experience just got more accessible. I expect a good number of 3 series & E Class owners in their member base, and was told that there is even some interest from Civic & Accord owners. Is there a downside? Of course: That pride of Supercar ownership and the relevant bragging rights (if that matters to you) obviously aren't an option.

Club Torque offers 3 levels of membership:

Elite - Rs. 15 lakh annually
? 10,000 membership points
? Upto 80 days of driving per year
? Access to the entire fleet of cars
? One month booking window (you can book cars a maximum of 30 days in advance)
? Two Wild Cards (which allow you to book a car with unlimited advance notification. E.g. Book the Ferrari F430 for your November wedding anniversary as early as January!)
? Track Days in India and abroad
? Factory visits to Mercedes, BMW etc.

Sports - Rs. 8 lakh annually
? 5,000 membership points
? Upto 40 days of driving per year
? 20 day booking window (you can book cars a maximum of 20 days in advance)
? One Wild Card
? Track Days in India and abroad

Enthusiast - Rs. 5 lakh annually
? 3,000 membership points
? Upto 20 days of driving per year
? 20 day booking window (you can book cars a maximum of 20 days in advance)

NOTE : At the time of registration, you will have to pay a Rs. 150,000 initiation fee. This has a 10 year validity.

Table showing how your Membership points can be used, based on the car and whether it's a week day / weekend

MEMBERSHIP STRUCTURE

POINTS

Car Model

Week Day Points Per Day

Weekend Points Per Day

BMW Z4

125

250

Merc E-Cabriolet

125

250

Porsche 911 Turbo

175

350

Audit R8

175

350

Ferrari 430

300

600



http://www.clubtorque.in/

Club Torque is headed by Amit Jain & the Shaman Auto Group (who own a large network of car dealerships in Mumbai). Amit's professional experience includes roles with Mercedes & Ford India.

The Club will maintain a member to car ratio of 6 : 1. Another 6 cars are going to be added to the fleet in the near future, including a Lamborghini. A Nissan GT-R is on the consideration list. Club Torque members will decide on new additions to the fleet. We suggest that the Maybach or a Rolls Royce Phantom be added; after all, some members might want to use their points toward an uber-luxury sedan for that wedding in the family. Additionally, we spoke about adding Superbikes & Harley-Davidsons to the fleet!

The cars appear to be in excellent shape. For instance, the Ferrari we drove had a mere 800 kms on the odometer. However, the cars had the TPMS warning lights on and the Ferrari's traction control needed to be fixed (technician has been called from Singapore for the same).

Interestingly, the Mercedes E-Cabriolet is currently the most popular from the fleet. It's out like every weekend! 4 seater appeal? Easy to drive? Convertible? Whichever. There is also a BMW Z4 in their garage, but we couldn't shoot it as the car was out with a club member.

Club Torque already has 11 members. All 11 have opted for the Elite level of membership.

Cars can be booked for a minimum of 3 days, and a maximum of 10 days at a time.

You can upgrade your membership level, if you use up your points earlier than anticipated.

Currently located in Mumbai only. Plans for other cities (including Surat, Gujarat) are in the pipeline.

The minimum age limit for membership is 25 years.

Some entrepreneurs might be able to write off the annual membership fee as an expense (for tax benefits).

All cars are registered in the name of "Torque Lifestyle LLP". They have a master right-to-lease agreement, which allows members to lease the car for a short-term duration. Thus, each time that a car is taken out, a short-term lease is drawn. This ensures that the procedures are in compliance with all legal, RTO & insurance requirements.

Things to keep in mind when driving a Club Torque car


? Club Torque offers a free pickup / drop-off facility on an enclosed flat-bed truck. In addition, they can arrange a driver for the time that you visit a nightclub and don't want to drive back later at night.

? A compulsory 30 minute tutorial will be given at the time of picking up any car. This is critical to understanding the car's controls & functions. After all, these are very complex automobiles. Also, at the time of membership, there is a compulsory 1/2 day training session.

? There is absolutely no limit on the number of kms you can drive on your allocated days. As an example, I can drive the Audi R8 from Mumbai to Pune if I want.

? You are provided the car with a full tank of fuel, and are expected to return the car with a full tank of fuel.

? Only Members are permitted to drive cars. Read = No handing out keys to friends & relatives. If a member violates this condition, his membership will be terminated. Atleast that's what the rules state. It will be difficult for them to find out if say, a member lets his friend drive the Porsche in Lonavla.

? Cars are screened with a fine-toothed comb at the time of each pickup / drop-off. If a Member damages any car, he has to pay the insurance deductible (cost of repair less whatever the insurance company pays). If a member is found to be frequently damaging / abusing cars, his membership can be terminated.

? Each car will be equipped with a GPS system that will keep Club Torque notified of the car's location.

? A list of petrol pumps that serve 97-Octane fuel will soon be provided with each car, along with a list of "suggested drive destinations" (those locations that offer the road for a super driving experience).

? You can book your drives via the online reservation system as well.

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While the concept is quite common overseas, it has still found very little success. The most famous one being the one headed by Former F1 World Champion Damon Hill - ecurie25.

P1 went through bankruptcy and then was revived, but I believe the members that were signed up pre-bankruptcy, lost their investment.

The fact that this club is headed by Shaman, might help it gain some credibility, especially if it is leveraged as a selling point to existing Shaman clients from Mercedes, who might look at this as a lifestyle option, in addition to the Mercedes they already own.

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